I’m Going Back To Old Kentucky #189

From October 1, 2010 through to the end of September 2011, we will, each day, celebrate the life of Bill Monroe by sharing information about him and those people who are associated with his life and music career. This information will include births and deaths; recording sessions; single, LP and CD release dates; and other interesting tidbits. Richard F. Thompson is responsible for the research and compilation of this information. We invite readers to share any tidbits, photos or memories you would like us to include.

  • April 7, 1924 Lloyd McCormick was born on a farm near Westmoreland, Tennessee. *
  • April 7, 1981 Recording session – Additional vocal tracks added to Bill Monroe’s recording of My Last Days on Earth. **
  • April 7, 1989 Clyde Moody died, age 73, at the Nashville Memorial Hospital, Nashville, Tennessee, following a long illness.  ***
  • April 7, 1998 The Kentucky Legislature named a stretch of KY 231 between Hartford, the Ohio county seat of local government, and Beaver Dam “The Bill Monroe Memorial Boulevard”. ****
  • April 7, 2003 CD released – Essential Collection (Spectrum Music 113 068-2, Universal International) *****
  • April 7, 2009 CD released – Blue Grass Memories (Unidisc Music Inc. 852231 (Canada)) ******

* McCormick has filled in for the guitarist in the Blue Grass Boys.

He was a member of the under-recognised McCormick Brothers bluegrass band that recorded for Hickory Records from the mid-1950s to the early 1960s.

** Background vocals by Arlene Hardin, Curtis Young and Cindy Nelson were added to the basic tracks for My Last Days on Earth. Norman Blake [guitar] and Mark Hembree [bass] provided instrumental support.

*** Clyde Moody first joined the Blue Grass Boys on September 6, 1940, succeeding Cleo Davis on guitar.

He was involved in one recording session during the two spells that he worked for Bill Monroe, singing lead on the recording of Six White Horses, No Letter in the Mail and I Wonder If You Feel the Way I Do.

Prior to his time with Bill Monroe, Moody and Jay Hugh, the brother of Roy Hall, teamed up to appear as the Happy-Go-Lucky Boys on the radio in Spartanburg, North Carolina. They then joined Wade Mainer, and with fiddler Steve Ledford, they became the Sons of the Mountaineers. Moody also worked as part of a duo with Lester Flatt, spending a few months playing on the radio in Burlington, North Carolina.

A Grand Ole Opry performer as a solo act, he recorded for Columbia Records and Bullett, before his big breakthrough came with the release of Shenandoah Waltz (King 619), in 1947.

Similar songs, such as Waltz of the Wind, Carolina Waltz, I Waltz Alone and Cherokee Waltz followed, earning Moody the nickname The Hillbilly Waltz King.

After a break from the music business due to ill health, Moody returned in 1962 with an album on Wango (White House Blues, LP 102), followed by one for Starday Records, a country music LP for the Longhorn label and a few, including one with Ramblin’ Tommy Scott, for Old Homestead.

He played at bluegrass festivals during the folk revival period and, in 1972, he moved back to Nashville, where he performed both bluegrass and country music until his death in 1989.

**** The same legislation, Senate Joint Resolution 76, named the segment of US 62 from Beaver Dam to Leitchfield “The Blue Moon of Kentucky Highway”.  The Blue Moon of Kentucky Highway links Rosine, Horse Branch and Caneyville.

***** Bill Monroe – Essential Collection (17 tracks in all)

The Essential Collection provides a superb introduction to bluegrass music from the man many consider to be its inventor. This compilation cherry picks the 1950s and 1960s Decca masters, which includes the hits, Scotland and Gotta Travel On, in addition to the glorious remakes of Monroe’s glorious 1940’s legacy, including his most famous song, Blue Moon of Kentucky. (Product Description)

Track Listing – Uncle Pen, I’m Blue, I’m Lonesome, New Mule Skinner Blues, Nine Pound Hammer, Blue Moon of Kentucky, I Saw the Light, Footprints in the Snow, You’re Drifting Away, Rocky Road Blues, Cry, Cry Darling, Scotland, Gotta Travel On, Long Black Veil, Toy Heart, Jimmy Brown the Newsboy, Fireball Mail and Kentucky Waltz.

****** Bill Monroe Blue Grass Memories, sometimes referred to as 25 Blue Grass Memories, reflecting the number of tracks on the album.

Track listing – Roll In My Sweet Baby’s Arms, What Would Give In Exchange?, My Long Journey Home, Nine Pound Hammer, Drifting To Far From The Shore, New River Train, This World Is Not My Home, On The Banks Of The Ohio, Do You Call That Religion? You’ve Got To Walk That Lonesome Valley, Six Months Ain’t Long, Just A Song Of Old Kentucky, Don’t Forget Me, I’m Going, Darling Corey, Dreamed I Searched Heaven For You, Old Cross Road, Forgotten Soldier, We Read Of A Place That’s Call Heaven, Will The Circle Be Unbroken? Saints Go Marching In, Where Is My Sailor Boy, I Am Ready To Go, What Would Profit Be? and Some Glad Day.

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About the Author

Richard Thompson

Richard F. Thompson is a long-standing free-lance writer specialising in bluegrass music topics. A two-time Editor of British Bluegrass News, he has been seriously interested in bluegrass music since about 1970. As well as contributing to that magazine, he has, in the past 30 plus years, had articles published by Country Music World, International Country Music News, Country Music People, Bluegrass Unlimited, MoonShiner (the Japanese bluegrass music journal) and Bluegrass Europe. He wrote the annotated series I'm On My Way Back To Old Kentucky, a daily memorial to Bill Monroe that culminated with an acknowledgement of what would have been his 100th birthday, on September 13, 2011.